Games, Cognition, and Emotion

University of Hamburg, 5-6 July 2013

Keynote Lecture “Games and Emotion”

Bernard Perron,  University of Montréal

The Thing Called Gameplay Emotion, And How It Is Bred in the Gamer’s Affective Space

Readers and spectators have long been responding emotionally to works of art. However, the explicit interactive nature of the video game has undoubtedly come to elicit new kinds of emotion for the gamer. Referring to the causes, characteristics and basic components of a typical emotion (the appraisal structure and action tendency, previously emphasized elsewhere, but also the notions of temporality, partiality, instability, intensity and concerns for oneself and/or for others), this talk will aim to better define these ‘gameplay emotions’. As film techniques can for instance cue and enhance the viewer’s visceral and emotional experience to movies, we have to recognize and examine how the interaction between game features (such as controls, rules, mechanics, dynamics and systems) are as much designed to stir up the gamer’s actions and shape his affective space. But as this talk will also wish to underline, we cannot forget to study the relation between the emotions called forth by the gameplay and the ones kindled by the artifact and the fiction and narrative. Although they are known to be really touching games, there is undeniably a world of difference between playing thatgamecompany’s Journey (2012) and Telltale’s The Walking Dead (2012). Other games like Shadow of the Colossus (Team Ico, 2005), Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream, 2010) and Resident Evil 6 (Capcom, 2012) will be analyzed in order to exemplify the proposed theorization.

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perronBernard Perron is Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Montréal. He is the author of Silent Hill: The Terror Engine (2012), co-editor of The Video Game Theory Reader 1 (2003) and 2 (2009), as well as editor of Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (2009). His research and writings concentrate on editing in early cinema; on narration, cognition, and the ludic dimension of narrative cinema; and on interactive cinema and video games.

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